Harper Government Highlights Benefits for Alberta of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Deeper trade with the European Union will bring good jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to hard-working Albertans, say Minister of State Menzies and Member of Parliament Merrifield

April 27, 2012 - The Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), and the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade and Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, today joined federal ministers across the country in highlighting the benefits of a potential trade agreement with the European Union. The two held events at local businesses in Alberta’s important energy services and agriculture sectors to highlight the benefits a Canada-EU trade agreement would generate for Canadian workers and their families.

“The energy services sector is an important pillar of Alberta’s economy, and it is a sector that would greatly benefit from an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union. In fact, more than 60,000 Albertans and their families depend on the energy services sector for their livelihood,” said Minister Menzies at Calgary’s Trican Well Service Ltd., Canada’s largest pressure pumping company and a major service provider in the global oil and gas marketplace. “Lowering barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class energy services in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers, which would directly benefit Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.”

Mr. Merrifield attended an event at Lewis Farms in Spruce Grove.

“Our government is focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. An ambitious agreement with the European Union will be a big win for Alberta’s workers and businesses,” said Mr. Merrifield. “More than 52,000 hard-working Albertans and their families depend on the agriculture sector for their livelihood. A Canada-EU trade agreement will produce success for this critical sector and directly benefit workers and families who rely on it here in Alberta.”

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, also commented on the benefits of an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.

“Our government is focused on strengthening economic growth and opening new markets for Canadian workers, farmers and businesses,” said Minister Ambrose. “When Canadian companies succeed globally, it translates into good jobs and increased prosperity for hard working Canadians across the country and right here in Alberta.”

“More than 60 percent of Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product) and the jobs of one in five Canadians are generated by trade,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, in a keynote address today to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa. The Minister’s address was among several events being held across the country to highlight the benefits of the Canada-EU trade agreement currently under negotiation.

“An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would generate significant benefits for hard-working Canadians in every region of our country,” said Minister Fast. “It would bring a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new jobs.”

The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. The ongoing trade negotiations with the EU represent Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the historic North American Free Trade Agreement.

- 30 -

A backgrounder detailing the benefits for Alberta of a potential Canada-EU trade agreement follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Backgrounder - Benefits for Alberta of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Albertans  

An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would be of significant benefit to Canada, resulting in a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion increase in Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product).

That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new Canadian jobs—which is like adding twice the number of jobs currently in the region of Wood Buffalo to the Canadian economy.

Many of Alberta’s key sectors would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement:

Agriculture

  • This sector employs nearly 52,000 Albertans.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $298-million worth of agricultural products to the EU.
  • Tariffs on key Alberta exports to the EU, such as oats (€89/tonne), and processed products, such as canola oil (tariffs of 3.2-6.4 percent) and pet food (tariffs as high as €948/tonne), would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Chemicals and plastics

  • This sector employs nearly 13,000 Albertans.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $76-million worth of chemicals and plastics to the EU.
  • Canadian exports of chemicals and plastics faced an average tariff of 4.9 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Industrial machinery

  • This sector employs more than 1,000 Albertans.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $65-million worth of industrial machinery to the EU.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian industrial machinery average 2.1 percent, with peaks of 8 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class industrial machinery in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Wood and wood products

  • This sector employs nearly 18,000 Albertans.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, Alberta exported an annual average of $2.4-million worth of wood and wood products to the EU.
  • Alberta’s exports of wood and wood products faced average tariffs of 2.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Alberta’s world-class wood and wood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit Albertans through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • This sector, overall, employs nearly 1.4 million Albertans.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Alberta’s economy, accounting for 61 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2010.
  • In 2010, the EU services import market totalled $1.4 trillion.
  • Current EU trade barriers on Canadian services are citizenship or residency requirements, lack of temporary entry rules, and ownership and investment restrictions. These trade barriers would be reduced under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, directly benefiting businesses and workers in this vital Alberta sector.

Investment

  • Direct investment by Canadian companies in the EU totalled almost $173 billion in 2011, representing over 25 percent of Canadian direct investment abroad. The same year, direct investment by European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
  • Alberta businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including mining, financial services, professional services, renewable energy and environmental technology, transportation, and information and communication technologies.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Alberta’s investors and businesses and reduce the risks associated with investing abroad. This would lead to greater two-way investment, which would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working Albertans.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Alberta and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology could benefit from greater access to the EU’s procurement market, which is worth an estimated $2.4 trillion.
  • Greater access to the world’s largest procurement market would benefit workers and their families in sectors that are vital to Alberta’s economy.